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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Oregon Councilman James Seaman, who is running for Lucas County Recorder, is proposing that the Recorder’s and Auditor’s offices share services as a “one stop shop.”

The shared services arrangement, he said, would help ease the burden of taxpayers.

“When someone goes to register a deed at the recorder’s office, they end up standing in one line at the recorder’s office and write a check to Lucas County, then stand in another line at the auditor’s office and write another check to Lucas County,” Seaman said to The Press on Wednesday. “My idea is to stand in one line and write one check to Lucas County. It’s quicker for the taxpayer and it wouldn’t wear on your patience. It would be a matter of sharing the data bases between the two offices. It would save money basically. There would be the ability to streamline the operations and administrative time in fulfilling the functions of our taxpayer. That would be the concept.”

There are other county departments that share services, said Seaman, such as the offices of recorder and treasurer.

“They share a human resources department with the county commissioners. They write job descriptions, discipline employees when necessary, and in some cases they might negotiate with employees,” he said.

The Lucas County clerk’s office also shares digital imaging with the recorder’s office, he added.

“A lot of digital imaging is required in the recorder’s office, and the clerk’s office has a lot of digital imaging equipment. So that’s an improvement.”

He would also like to streamline other county offices.

Other departments with overlapping responsibilities could also be streamlined, saving expenses and becoming more efficient.

“The Ohio Job and Family Services is now sharing data bases with the child support enforcement department. That’s helping them streamline their services also,” said Seaman, a retired school psychologist. “There’s a lot of things going on that are positive in that way.”

The shared services arrangement for the recorder’s and auditor’s offices would not be difficult to accomplish, he said.

“It would take cooperation, problem solving and communication between the departments with approval of the county commissioners. That’s how it would happen. We wouldn’t have to change any laws. We would just have to sit down and work it out,” he said.

Seaman, who has served as chairman of the Finance Committee in Oregon for the last several years, said sharing resources is becoming more of a trend to save money in a tough economy.

“The state is cutting the local government fund for local governments, the estate tax will be eliminated in 2013, our payroll income tax revenue is down, and the county sales tax is going down. People aren’t spending as much, and that’s the major source of revenue for a county. We’ve got declines in all those areas, and that dictates a different form of government.”

Seaman is among three Democrats running for recorder who will face off in a primary on March 6. The other candidates are Kevin Eff, of Sylvania Township, and Toledo City Councilman Phil Copeland.

Jeanine Perry, the current recorder, is retiring.

Ebola outbreak

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